If you are looking for museums to spend a whole day wandering around, Tallinn is an excellent destination. From history and maritime culture to art and farm life, the city's biggest museums will keep you entertained for hours.
A top tip: all of these museums are free with Tallinn Card, a sightseeing pass that includes free entry to Tallinn’s top attractions and a free use of public transport. Your perfect travel buddy for brisk winter days!
Estonian History Museum - Maarjamäe Palace
It's not a wonder, that people "get lost" in this immersive complex of Estonian History Museum at Maarjamäe. Up on the Maarjamäe hill you can choose to do any or all of the following things:
Visit the Estonian History Museum inside the Maarjamäe Palace
Spend quality time with the small ones at the "Children’s Republic" play area
Get to know the art of film-making at the Estonian Film Museum
Dine at the classy Restaurant Maarjamäe and admire the artwork by Estonian artist Peeter Allik or have a cup of coffee at a café inside the Estonian Film Museum
Step inside the Palace Stables to experience the history of Estonian pop music
Take amazing selfies with Soviet leaders who lie about in the park behind the palace (=outdoor exhibition of Soviet monuments)
Catch the sunset over the Tallinn Bay and city skyline from Maarjamäe hill
Shop for souvenirs at the museum shops!
How to get to Maarjamäe?
Take bus nr 5 from Vabaduse väljak or buses nr 1A / 8 / 34A / 38 from Viru Keskus, stop Maarjamägi. The journey takes about 20 minutes.
Seaplane Harbour - Estonian Maritime Museum
Lennusadam is a modern high-tech maritime museum hidden inside gigantic seaplane hangars in Kalamaja. If you arrive to Tallinn by boat, you can see the museum on the west coastal line of Tallinn. The Seaplane Harbour has collected several awards. In 2013 it was awarded with Europa Nostra Gran Prix in the category of conservation. It is one of the most visited museums in Estonia. Some our favourite activities in the Seaplane Harbour include:
Exploring the inside of British-built submarine Lembit
Learning about maritime history
Taking an educational ride with the yellow submarine and navigate on Tallinn Bay
Flying above Tallinn with a simulator plane
Testing maritime war machinery
Stepping on board of historic ships docked outside the museum, including Suur Tõll, Europe’s largest steam-powered icebreaker
Dining at the café called Maru and enjoying the exiting atmosphere of the Seaplane Hangars
Promoting ourselves to captains with proper captains hat, available at the museum store
How to get to the Seaplane Harbour?
Take bus nr 73 from Vabaduse väljak, stop Lennusadam. The bus ride takes about 15 minutes. You can also walk: the Seaplane Harbour is located about 2.1 km (1.3 miles) from the Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats).
Estonian Open Air Museum
The Estonian Open Air Museum is not exactly indoors, but you can step into different old farms, shops, a pub, a school, and many other buildings - the serene surroundings offer a lovely and refreshing change to our busy daily lives and routines. The museum is open almost every day of the year (except 24.-25.12. and 31.12.). Enjoy the fresh air and activities taking place at the museum grounds. Here you can:
Swing at the traditional Estonian village swing
Take a horse carriage ride with the wind in your hair through old Estonian countryside
Get a tasty old-fashioned snack from the Lau village shop
Clear your thoughts at the Sutlepa chapel
Breathe in the fresh sea air by the net sheds
Listen if the windmills make any sounds while whirring round
Learn about the traditional life at Estonian farms from different eras
Enjoy traditional Estonian food at the Kolu inn
Visit Western, Northern and Southern Estonia, plus the islands, all in one day
Once in Rocca al Mare, you can combine your visit to the Estonian Open Air Museum with a visit to Tallinn Zoo and say hi to the polar bears!
How to get to the Estonian Open Air Museum?
Bus nr 21 takes you from Viru to Rocca al Mare in about 30 minutes.
Kumu Art Museum
Kumu is the main building of Art Museum of Estonia and displays the Estonian art from 18th to 21st centuries. The modern museum building fits perfectly the scenery in leafy Kadriorg, and was opened in 2006. In 2008 Kumu won the European Museum of the Year award (there were 140 candidates). To explore all the five floors open to the public you’ll need at least one whole day. Some things that you can do in Kumu:
Take selfies with the busts
Eat cake at the Reval Café
Visit the museum shop for some artistic souvenirs
While in Kadriorg, visit also Kadriorg Art Museum – a palace built by Peter the Great that now houses the foreign collection of Art Museum of Estonia.
How to get to Kumu?
Take tram nr 1 or 3 from Hobujaama to Kadriorg. The journey lasts less than 10 minutes, followed by a short stroll through the beautiful Kadriorg park.